The pro-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or red-shirt protesters have rallied since Saturday on Aksa Road on the western outskirts of Bangkok, vowing to protect the government against an upcoming charter court ruling that could see caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra toppled within weeks.
The red shirts’ 3-day-long rally also aimed to counter the anti-government protesters who have been protesting for five months. The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), whose name translates literally as the People's Committee for Absolute Democracy with the King as Head of State (PCAD), disrupted the election in February and called for “national reform” by establishing an unelected People's Council to rid Thai politics of any influence of the “Thaksin regime”.
On Sunday, red-shirt leaders called on their supporters to oppose any attempt to topple the caretaker government, while some red shirts wore t-shirts with the text “Respect the King. Love Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.”
A red-shirt supporter wears a white t-shirt reading “Respect the King. Love Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn,”
while another demonstrator wears a black t-shirt reading “I oppose outlaw prime ministers.”
(Photo: Tewarit Maneechai)
One prominent red-shirt leader, Sudsanguan Suthisorn, appeared on stage and led the crowd in chanting “Long Live the Heir,” referring to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.
Speaking to the crowd on stage on Sunday evening, UDD leader Jatuporn Promphan told red-shirt followers to get ready for the final battle in Bangkok after April 18 and challenged the PDRC leaders to mobilise their supporters on the same day to show the public which side has more followers.
The Constitutional Court is to rule after April 18 on a case against Yingluck which was lodged by 27 senators who said she abused her power when she transferred the National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri in 2011. She would be disqualified from the premiership, were the charter court to find her guilty.
Meanwhile, PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban also called on PDRC supporters to join this upcoming showdown.
On Saturday, speaking at the PDRC's main rally site in Lumpini Park, Suthep also called on his supporters to prepare for the final battle after the Songkran festival, which he said might last for 15 to 20 days.
He said when the PDRC is able to topple the current caretaker government, it would install itself as the “sovereign body”.
“We will declare our sovereignty. We will appoint the People's Government and the People's Council, then reform Thailand immediately,” said Suthep. “This is the resolution from our PDRC national committee meeting.”
Suthep said after the PDRC’s victory, he would seek to submit the names of an appointed Prime Minister and cabinet ministers for HM the King to approve as the People′s Government.
Suthep also said the PDRC will mobilise followers nationwide for this “final battle.” If this campaign fails, he would surrender to the government and end his fight, he said.